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Federal appeals court rules wrongful 9/11 detainee can sue FBI interrogator

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled [opinion, PDF] Friday that an Egyptian student wrongly detained in the wake of the 9/11 attacks may sue the FBI agent who interrogated him. Abdallah Higazy appealed a ruling [PDF text] by the US District Court for the Southern District of New York which granted summary judgment to the federal agent, Michael Templeton, on the basis of qualified immunity which generally shields government officials from lawsuits for actions occurring during the performance of their duties. Higazy argued that Templeton violated his Fifth Amendment right against compulsory self-incrimination by threatening Higazy, as well as members of his family, and as such was not protected by qualified immunity. The Second Circuit agreed, ruling that Higazy's coerced confession was used in a January 2002 bail hearing and as such, constitutes a Fifth Amendment violation.

The ruling echoed a similar Second Circuit opinion from June, in which the court found that Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller were not protected from litigation by qualified immunity [JURIST report] as their actions in the wake of 9/11 could not be considered reasonable. AP has more.

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